Concert chaos: ‘Help me! Help me! He is attacking me!’
This is a first-hand account of the violent mayhem that erupted after the Global Citizen concert
“It was a great evening and the concert went on a little longer than expected. Beyoncé and Jay Z performed a lot of the set from their On The Run Tour. The mood was great – South Africans haven’t had the opportunity to see the two perform together. It was late but the stadium was still packed because they were the highlight of the concert.
We left the stadium after 11pm and a group of journalists followed the public relations person towards the parking area. We soon realised something was amiss. At first I noticed there was no one doing crowd control. There was this little gate that about 1,000 people were trying to get through. All the journalists were holding onto each other, and at that point we realised this is an easy target for pickpockets. We all put our kit bags in front of us. I saw three guys weaving their way through the crowds, putting their hands in people’s pockets. They were trying to take whatever they could reach. I did not see any security guards or police officers. These guys were just roaming freely.
We eventually got to the parking lot. Normally at events like these there would be officials managing the traffic. I saw one car guard and he was wearing a bib, not a formal security uniform.
As we were walking to the car we saw a white bakkie that had apparently just bumped into a Ford Ranger. We saw a scratch on the one car but thought nothing of it. My three colleagues and I got into the car and then we got stuck in traffic. There were no traffic controllers; the traffic was a mess. We were there for maybe an hour and a half.
While we were waiting we heard screams and then we turned around and there was a lady who had got out of the car behind us, and she was screaming. She was shouting: ‘Help me! Help me! He is attacking me!’ We realised she was in the car that had bumped into the other car. This man was dragging her out of the car. He punched the driver and then he took her shoe and started banging the car with the heel.
The guy went crazy. He smashed the windows, the front window, side window, and he pulled at the car door. People were screaming at the car guard to help. For about 10 minutes he was just smashing the car. The lady was crying. I saw blood on the car.
There was another person taking a video, and then that guy saw him and started chasing him. Then this guy who was smashing the car came back and looked into the cars to see if there were any other people making videos. Everyone was hiding in their cars.
There were three other people in the Ford Ranger who just sat and watched their friend on his violent spree. But they got out of their car to help him look for people taking videos. Our journalists were scared. We realised there is actually no protection for us here.
By this time the car guard had gone to get help. He came back with four more car guards who caught the man and took him away. I don’t know what happened to him.
I then went to speak to the lady who was attacked and she said this guy just pulled her out of the car and he also hit the driver, who wanted to know where the police were. The driver looked like he was in utter shock and said his car was a write-off.
When we finally got to the exit there were Johannesburg Metro Police Department officials at the gate. But none of them had been inside the parking area.
I just don’t understand. This guy just kept on bashing and bashing the car. He looked crazy and there was no one to help us. People were so scared.
‘Blame the cops’
Several festival goers told TimesLIVE how they were mugged after the concert at a nearby garage, where they were waiting for Uber rides.
Stadium management CEO Jacques Grobbelaar said all security at the event was handled by Global Citizen and the police. He said he was at the event and also saw police leaving the venue directly after the last performance.
Grobbelaar criticised the police and said those affected by crime should lay complaints against the police.
“We were, in essence, the landlords of this event. For police to say they were there and followed protocol is a blatant lie.”
Police spokesperson Vish Naidoo denied that police officers left the venue after the performance.